About Central Asia's geography and environment

From burning deserts to fertile steppes and deciduous forests, from alpine meadows to tundra, almost all biogeographic zones are represented here.
Steppe and wetlands in northern Kazakhstan. rel=
Steppe and wetlands in northern Kazakhstan.
© Hartmut JUNGIUS / WWF

The entire territory of the four Central Asian nations of Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan, and Turkmenistan are global ecoregions, along with the southern half of Kazakhstan. The northern half of Kazakhstan includes virgin steppe areas, and important bird areas.

The biodiversity of the region is characterized by the high degree of endemism: in some areas, up to 18-20% of higher flora is represented by species with narrow ranges.

Central Asia’s temperate forests harbour unique communities of fruit and nut trees – a valuable resource for other plants, wildlife, and people. Wild relatives of fruit and nut trees such as apple, pear, and apricot, almond, pistachio and walnut trees are just some of the components of this rich ecosystem.

About 7,000 species of flowering plants, 900 species of vertebrate and 20000 of invertebrates live here. Many species are listed in the Red Data Book of the World Conservation Union (IUCN) such as Asian cheetah, leopard and snow leopard, kulan, markhour and bukhara deer, different rare eagles and falcons, MacQueen's bustard, cobra and gray monitor, beautiful tulips and butterflies, and many others.

	© WWF / Mandal Ranjit
Striped hyenas used to be widespread throughout the southern part of Central Asia, but today are only found in small numbers in southern Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan and Tajikistan.
© WWF / Mandal Ranjit
Przewalski horse, Karsinskaja steppe, Uzbekistan. 
	© Hartmut JUNGIUS / WWF
Przewalski's horse (Equus ferus przewalskii), Karsinskaja steppe, Uzbekistan.
© Hartmut JUNGIUS / WWF

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